a person holding a box

Life In London

Coronavirus: UK visas & immigration

By Adrian 15 Jun 2020

International students - both those already in the UK and students who are planning to move to London for the 2020/21 academic year - may be anxious about travelling and immigration requirements for the UK during the coronavirus pandemic. The following is a list of authoritative resources so you can access the information you need.

UK government: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents

British Council: Moving to the UK / COVID-19 support for international students

UKCISA: Coronavirus info for international students

Further information about visas

If you’re in the UK and your leave expired after 24 January 2020, your visa will be extended to 31 July 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). If you have already had your visa extended to 31 May 2020 your visa will be extended automatically to 31 July 2020.

You must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) to update your records if your visa is expiring. 

You will be asked to provide: 

  • your full name (include any middle names) 

  • date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy) 

  • nationality 

  • your previous visa reference number 

  • why you can’t go back to your home country, for example if the border has closed 

You can also contact the coronavirus immigration helpline if you have any immigration queries related to coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Coronavirus Immigration Helpline 
Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) - calls are free of charge. 

Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

Further information about higher education

The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a helpline to answer your questions about Covid-19 and concerns regarding your education. You can contact the helpline by telephone and email:

Phone: +44 (0) 800 046 8687 (calls made from overseas will be charged at an international rate which will vary by country.) The helpline is open from 08.00 - 18.00, Monday – Friday. 

Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk

Access to healthcare

Your access to healthcare

No charges will be made in the diagnosis or treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19). This applies to everyone, including anyone living in the UK without permission:

  1. No charges apply to testing for COVID-19, even if the result is negative, or to any treatment provided for COVID-19 if the result is positive or up to the point that it is negatively diagnosed. The same is true of most other infectious diseases.
  2. No immigration checks are required for overseas visitors that are known to be only undergoing testing or treatment for COVID-19.

The message that COVID-19 testing and treatment is free of charge irrespective of immigration status is accessible in 40 languages in Public Health England's Migrant Health Guide.

The Government have issued specific advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients. NHS 111 can help you if you have an urgent medical problem and you're not sure what to do, they have access to translators if you need them.

Adrian profile picture

Adrian is a medical doctor, the University of London Student Health & Wellbeing Manager, and the Warden of Connaught Hall. He is passionate about advancing equality, diversity, and inclusion. Adrian's interests include fitness, nutrition, mindfulness and insight meditation, medical education, social psychology, and human factors / crisis resource management.
View All Posts

Popular topics in Life In London